by Brian Yalung
Fencing is one of the sports that the country is on in the coming Southeast Asian Games that will be held in the country this year. And while there are familiar names that come to mind, head coach Rolando Canlas Jr. is pulling all the stops to make sure that local athletes deliver.
However, Canlas made it clear that everything will be back to zero. This means that fencers, both old and new, will go through the process and need to prove that they deserve to be in the national team.
“Back to zero talaga. So kahit gold medallist ka pa nung nakaraang SEA Games, kailangan mo pa ring dumaan dito sa competition. Patunayan mo na talagang deserving ka kasi iba yung nakaraan,” said Canlas to Manila Bulletin Sports.
“Iba yung ngayon. Ngayon, host ang Pilipinas kaya mas matindi yung preparation na gagawin talaga. Kailangan di kami magkamali sa selection process,” he added.
According to Canlas, a bronze medalist during the 2007 SEA Games for Men’s foil, a special meet will be held on Feb. 17, 24 and Mar. 3. Local fencers will be joined by Fil-Ams to determine who will comprise the 24 slots for fencing at the coming SEAG.
“This coming Feb. 17, 24, and Mar. 3, magkakaroon kami ng SEA Games selection. Talagang pinagtabi-tabi yung mga date na yon kasi nag-invite kami ng mga Fil-Am. In-open namin sa mga foreign Filipino para mag-try sila. Kung makapasok sila, ise-select namin sila. Maglalaro sila sa SEA Games. Ire-represent nila yung national team,” said Canlas.
For the SEA Games, Canlas bared that they will be looking for 12 men and 12 female fencers. Once the selection process is over, the chosen athletes will be in for a tough grind since they will be competing in various events prior to the actual SEA games.
Among the tournaments lined up for the national fencing team includes tournaments in Jordan, Poland, Tokyo and Hungary which will run all the way July.
From there, the national team will start its first phase of training in Beijing, China for the SEA Games in September. The Fencing team will participate in Bangkok for another tournament before embarking on the final phase of their training in Hong Kong.
Despite a busy schedule for the fencers, Canlas is not worried about a potential burnout come the SEA Games.
“Hindi naman kasi nag-usap kami bago to gawin. So nag-usap kami ng mga sports conditioning, sports psychologist, nakaplano talaga to. Hindi to basta-basta,” he said.
“Ang promise namin dito ay makakuha kami ng 6 golds, 5 silvers and 2 bronzes. Last time promise ko na magme-medal kami which is nagawa naman namin. Tama yung ginagawa, tama yung training program. So this time, more medals ang promise ko dito,” Canlas ended. #SEAGames2019